BILLINGS — One chance. That’s all they’re looking for.
For somebody, anybody, to like what they have to offer.
After helping the Rocky Mountain College football program win its first Frontier Conference title since 1999 and make the NAIA playoffs for the first time since 2013, a handful of players are looking to extend their playing careers.
“All I can ask for is a chance,” said receiver Max Gray, speaking for himself and his teammates.
Gray, along with Darneail Jenkins (tight end), Zane Guse (offensive line), Jacob Bakken (quarterback) and Matt Larson (punter) will be measured, tested and try to pass the eye test at the Montana State Pro Day on Monday in Bozeman.
The event will showcase a handful of local college football players to an audience of scouts from the National Football League.
Rocky center Troy Bacon plans to participate in the Boise State pro day.
One of the must-watched players is Jenkins, a 6-foot-5, 258-pound tight end for the Battlin’ Bears.
Jenkins, of West Pittsburg, California, has visited with scouts from 22 teams the past few months, 15 who came to the Rocky campus to meet with him and the coaching staff.
“It’s really exciting,’’ said Jenkins of possibly playing at the next level. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about, playing in the NFL, since I was young.”
Jenkins caught 44 passes last fall for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 16.8 yards a catch. The NFL scouts like his versatility.
However, he won’t be participating in the running or lifting drills. Jenkins underwent surgery for a herniated disc on Jan. 31.
“I had a pinched nerve with pain going down my leg,” he said. “It hurt during the season, but I kept playing. It wasn’t bad but it got worse during the winter.”
On the advice of the scouts and his agent, Jenkins will be in Bozeman to have his height, weight and palms measured. “The scouts told me not to rush it,” he said.
Jenkins plans to have a full pro day workout on April 4 at Laney College in California.
“It’s been kind of crazy right now,” he said of balancing classes and preparation. “They say I’m an ideal tight end. That I have the ideal size. I just have to keep working.
“I know I’m a good player. But at the combine I have to make sure I produce. It can’t be a waste of time for the scouts. I have to catch everything.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Gray caught 74 passes for 1,154 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall. He also returned punts.
“It’s huge enough to get into a pro day. I’m just excited for the opportunity,” he said.
Gray, of Arlington, Washington, has been balancing twice-a-day workouts, along with classwork and helping the Rocky football program. He’s been fine-tuning his skills in Billings, along with some help with the staff at The Pit in Bozeman.
“I’ve been working my explosiveness and top end speed,” Gray said. “I’ve been told all my life I was too small to play college football. Look at Julian Edelman (New England Patriots). He was the Super Bowl MVP and he’s a little dude. He’s the same size as me. If he can do it, why not me?
“I just want to show my numbers and skills to the scouts. Whatever happens, I’ll be happy for this experience.”
The 6-7, 290-pound Guse will also have limited participation in Bozeman after undergoing knee surgery after the football season.
Bakken, of Wibaux, passed for 3,448 yards and 35 touchdowns against just seven interceptions last fall. The 35 touchdown passes are believed to be a single-season record. Official records for Rocky football only go back to 2004.
Larson, from Las Vegas, averaged 42.3 yards a punt for the Battlin’ Bears.